“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected woman in America is the black woman.” – Malcolm X
Unless you’ve been living under a rock since the new year started, then you most likely saw the video of a Florida man attacking McDonald’s employee, Yasmine James in St. Petersburg. The entire incident happened over him wanting a straw.
The video that captured the incident shows him shouting expletives and growing increasingly belligerent. And then suddenly, he reaches across the counter, grabs Yasmine by the shirt and yanks her towards him. Luckily, James knew how to fight; and I’m sure the man wasn’t loving those hands he was catching.
Yasmine told Essence,
“I was scared. I didn’t know what he was going to do. I didn’t know if he had a gun or knife. So when he grabbed me, in my mind I was just like ‘get off of me.’ My thing was to just get him off of me the best way I could because I didn’t know what he was going to do to me.”
Not only was Yasmine forced to defend herself, but she also had to call 911 since none of her co-workers thought to take the initiative (the man was soon after arrested). In the days since the altercation, Yasmine has lawyered up with not one but two Black female lawyers: Shannon Ligon and Michele Rayner- Goolsby.
Though I love the fact that Yasmine defended herself the way she did, every time I watch the video, I get aggravated that the men surrounding her took too long to come to her defense.
The minute that man reached over to get her, everybody should have been on him to protect this queen. But instead, we watch her fend for herself for a good ten seconds, while everyone is standing around watching and yelling “stop”.
When someone finally does step in, he walks over to her leisurely and pulls her off the man instead of the other way around. When the altercation calmed down, her manager walked over. Did he ask the man to leave? No, he continued to take the man’s transaction like nothing ever happened.
Yes, Yasmine getting attacked is disturbing. But the reaction of her coworkers is the prime example of why were forced to continue saying, “protect Black women.” Because the brothas in this video obviously couldn’t give two shits about protecting her.
The history that goes with the plight of the Black woman in America runs so deep that I can’t even get into it in extensive detail because we’d be here forever. But a huge topic amongst Black women is the treatment of Black women at the hands of Black men.
Now, this treatment isn’t always physical, it can be psychological and emotional. I was lucky enough to grow up with Black male figures that respected Black women and held them to high esteem. But as I got older and surrounded myself with more people, I realized not everyone was cut from the same cloth.
Go on any social media site and you’ll found disparaging comments about Black women (who are 9 times out of 10 dark-skinned) by Black men. The same Black men who came from Black mothers and have Black sisters, Black grandmothers, Black aunties, and Black cousins. But then they continue to treat and talk about Black women like they are the scum of the earth.
And yet they wonder why so many Black women are “angry” or have “a chip on their shoulder” or don’t want to be down for the Black man. It’s not any of those things, we just don’t want to deal with the bullshit. And at the end of the day if we have to stand up for ourselves and fend for ourselves when another man puts his hands on us while you stand there like a bunch of rocks; why do we want to mess with you to begin with?
What kills me the most is that a Black woman started the Black Lives Matter movement after seen young Black men being murdered by the police. There are countless stories of Black women coming to the defense of Black men, but where is our respect and protection? And even though I shouldn’t have to differentiate, not all Black men are guilty of this. But as a collective, you need to hold your fellow Black man accountable for disrespectful behavior.
I can’t even imagine what was going through her head as Yasmine was fending for herself against this man who could have done her a lot of harm. But, I commend her and am proud that she handled herself the way that she did. Even though she was forced to do it by herself.
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Photo Sourc: Twitter
Alysia Stevenson is a twenty-seven New York City transplant currently living in Florida with her boyfriend and three furbabies. When she’s not writing, you can find her watching beauty tutorials on Youtube or Parks and Rec for the millionth time.